Still Not Safe: Have a Smart Focus on Your Child

enjoy your lifeParenting has become a multifarious science in the modern milieu of living where kids are Google smart but parents still run on MS DOS. Let’s explore ways on how this job can be made simpler or rather fun for a parent in today’s “Smart” society.

The Home Remedy

The best alternative comes from within the house. We term it as the “Home Remedy”. The home remedy is using the elder sibling to watch out for the younger ones and vice versa. This strategy will develop a sense of teamwork, confidence and interaction between the parents and the kids. This way kids will consider keeping track of their siblings as one of their responsibilities. Ultimately, they will evolve as mature and responsible individuals.

Get smart with your Smart Phone

It is a famous saying that people with same challenges in life understand each other better as compared to those who have never gone through a similar challenge. Applying this allegory of words here, a mother can turn out to be an ideal aide for another mother. Let me tell you how you mothers can be in league and an aide to each other. If your kid says that he is going to X’s place to study or to attend a social gathering, the first thing you as a mother should do is to call X’s mother and confirm it.

Keep a Hawk’s eye

It is observed that majority of youngsters start to dope while doing a group study at a friend’s house or something similar that the parents would just overlook. The smartest way to keep a kid unpolluted is by evaluating his or her mental state after such informal get-togethers and late night parties. Kids are smart and they will make excuses of fever or something to keep you away. Act smarter and insist on taking them to see a doctor for a blood test.

A Thorough Screening

Books are one’s best friends, and the youth presently acknowledge this fact by keeping everything evil hidden in their books that are zipped in their schoolbags. A thorough room check is necessary, not forgetting the drawers and pillows. Your kids ought to be foolproof.

Hence, there are numerous other ways to keep our children safe and prove ourselves as smarter parents. The only thing we need to do is to think creatively and help each other to achieve our collective goal. Youngsters are indeed smart but bound to transgress due to their docility and immaturity. This is our responsibility to keep the runway clean so that they may takeoff comfortably with the right prospects in life, without any distraction. Remember you need to first Get smart, then Connect and Protect!

May Allah (swt) protect our children from all the evil elements in our society and make us better guardians for them.  Ameen

Debate Activities in the Classroom

debateEach and every student possesses his or her own opinion. Classroom debates enable students to voice their opinions. A debate provides you with an opportunity to conduct yourself in a professional manner. According to the International Debate Education Association, “Debate is, above all, a way for those who hold opposing views to discuss controversial issues without descending to insult, emotional appeals or personal bias. A key trademark of debate is that it rarely ends in agreement, but rather allows for a robust analysis of the question at hand.”


Successful Classroom Debate Activities
In order to make debate activities successful, the teacher must ensure that each and every student is well-acquainted with the topic beforehand. Give them enough time to prepare and get motivated for the big day! You can play some games in the classroom leading up to the debate, and allow the competing teams to play against each other building a productive rivalry through words. Some of the classroom debate games are as follows:

1. A Four Corners Game

This debate game uses four corners of the classroom to get students moving.

Steps to follow
• Write the following opinions on four separate signs:
Strongly Agree, Somewhat Agree, Somewhat Disagree and Strongly Disagree
• Place each sign in each corner of the classroom.
• Various topics for students should be posed in the classroom. Decide on a topic based on the students’ age group and level of interest. For instance, in the elementary school, invite students to debate on statements such as, “It is important to eat from all the four food groups daily.” High school students might prefer a debate on “Should schools adopt a dress code?”
• Tell students to walk to the corner that best explains about how they feel about the topic. Give the groups a few minutes to talk about the topic and write down the reasons for their decision.
• Invite students to share their answers with the class. This debate game can be repeated with any other topic as well.

2. Card Game

This game will help students think carefully before they make an argument or rebuttal.

Steps to follow:
• Pull together a large number of index cards and write “Comment” on half and “Question” on the other half.
• Give out one of each card to the entire class.
• On the board, put up a debate topic or a resolution. Students must raise their hand and cash in the appropriate card to make a comment or question.
• Students will learn to keep their cards for when they have a very important point to make so you can reward players with extra cards for making excellent points or asking important questions.

3. Quick Debates/ Hat Debates

A hat debate requires the teacher to break the class into two teams: “For” and “Against”. The “For” team should sit in an outward-facing circle. The “Against” team should sit in a larger inward-facing circle with each member facing a member of the opposite team. A variety of debate topics are to be written on small slips of paper and placed in a hat. Often, such debates take place with just one speaker “for” and one speaker “against” the topic. It’s just a one-minute argument. One circle should rotate and then the teacher draws a new topic from the hat. Participants in this kind of debate have a minimal (or even no) time to prepare, so it’s a great practice for spontaneous thinking and arguments.

4. Inner Circle/Outer Circle Debate Strategy

This debate strategy centres on listening to the views of others and responding to them. It is a very good pre-writing debate strategy.

Steps to follow
• Arrange the students into four groups of equal size.
• Assemble the students of Group 1 in a circle and sit on chairs facing outward, away from the circle. Arrange students in Group 2 into a circle of chairs around Group 1, facing the students in Group 1. Groups 3 and 4 gather around the perimeter of the circle, facing the circle.
• Choose an issue that the students will be motivated to discuss/debate.
• Now, give students in the inner circle 10-15 minutes to discuss the topic. For this duration, all other students focus their attention on the students in the inner circle. Other students are not allowed to speak.
• Students in the outer circle take notes about points those students bring up; notes are used in a follow-up classroom discussion and/or for writing an editorial opinion expressing a point of view on the issue at hand.

5. Role Play Debate

In a role play debate, students scrutinize different points of view or perspectives related to an issue. For example, a debate about the question “Should students be required to wear uniforms at school?” might yield a range of opinions. Those might include views expressed by a student (or perhaps two students – one representing each side of the issue), a parent, a school principal, a police officer, a teacher, the owner of a clothing store, and others.

Steps to follow
• Whatever the issue is for debate in your classroom, decide in advance or ask students to help you identify the stakeholders in the debate.
• Then gather the index cards – one card for each student.
• Note down the roles of the stakeholders on the index cards, one stakeholder per card. Be sure you have at least three index cards for each stakeholder role.
• When it is time to debate, each stakeholder presents his or her point of view.
• After the presentations, the entire class can join in by asking questions of the individual stakeholders. When it ends, students decide which side of the debate — the Affirmative or Negative — presented the strongest case.

6. National and International Topics

National and international topics persuade children to think globally about the struggles, irrespective of the state or country boundaries.
In this context, some topics to be considered are:
• Is the government performing well?
• Should guaranteed health care be provided to all?
• What should be the response to global warming?
• What should be the function of the United Nations?

7. School and Local Issues

Children are most likely to be well- aware about local issues and issues affecting their school. For an exciting debate project, discuss an issue that kids are already experiencing or offer them an alternative as to how things are going currently. Children can debate on the following topics:
• Whether their class should have a field trip during the school year and where should they go.
• Whether they should be permitted to leave school premises during lunch.
• Whether the school cafeteria should only serve healthy food
• Whether kids should be able to attend school online.
• For younger grades, children can debate on whether there should be homework each night or whether the school day should be longer or shorter.

8. Creative Debate

Creative debate is a role-playing exercise. Students assume a specific point of view on a topic and debate a controversial topic from this perspective. Creative debates promote both critical thinking and tolerance of opposing views.

Steps to follow
• Divide the class into three groups. Select two groups to participate in the debate. The third group acts as an observer.
• Rearrange the classroom so that the opposing groups face one another and the observers are seated at one side.
• Present a reading selection that states one of the positions on the debate topic. Assign one group to argue for the selection; the other group argues against.
• Each student chooses a character from the past or present that signifies their position in the debate. (To speed up the process teachers may also suggest a list of characters.)
• Make each student introduce himself as a character to the class and then argue the topic from the perspective of this character. Encourage your students to ‘act out’ the character’s personality (speech patterns, mannerisms, etc.).
• Allocate ten minutes for each group to present their positons. Allow extra time for rebuttals.
• Next, ask the student teams to change their positions and argue the opposing viewpoint. (Perhaps the group of observers might change places with one of the other groups.)
• Repeat the debate and rebuttal process.
• At the end of the debate, ask students to reflect on their experiences.

Debates foster a great classroom environment by encouraging teamwork and friendly competition. Students tend to think analytically and express themselves clearly.

Hence, debates as an activity, help reach multiple classroom objectives: they not only practice speaking and listening skills, but also motivate students, develop their argumentation strategies, and encourage learner autonomy. Debates foster a great classroom environment by encouraging teamwork and friendly competition. Students tend to think analytically and express themselves clearly. Elementary, junior high (sometimes called middle school) and high schools use debates in the classroom, and the process becomes more sophisticated as the children get older. The maturity level of the students manipulates the debate style and expectations of the teacher. At the end of the day, every debate yields fruitful results!